The program was established to develop a network of trained individuals to help spread AgriLife Extension’s research-based, objective information and educational outreach related to health, nutrition, food safety and family well-being to communities in Texas.
On Jan. 21, AgriLife Extension will convene its third annual statewide training for Master Wellness Volunteers, said Andrew Crocker, AgriLife Extension program specialist in the agency’s family and community health unit, Amarillo.
Crocker, who will coordinate the statewide training, said two in-person sessions — one at the start of the training and one at the end — will be held at AgriLife Extension offices throughout the state, with the remainder of the training conducted online.
“This training is an opportunity for participants to obtain knowledge and skills to live a healthier lifestyle and encourage others to do the same,” he said. “Volunteers need not be health professionals or have previous experience in education. They just need a personal interest in sharing useful and practical information about health and wellness with others.”
Crocker said an in-person training at the local AgriLife Extension office in participating counties will run from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Jan. 21. Participants will then access additional online training to be completed over the next several weeks. Then there will be a final in-person training from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. on March 3, during which volunteers will be tested on what they have learned during training.
The cost for the training is $75 per adult and $25 per college students. Volunteers receive 40 hours of training and are asked to provide at least 40 hours of community service in return through supporting AgriLife Extension health and wellness efforts in their communities.
Crocker said training is open to AgriLife Extension offices in all Texas counties, but historically about 60 counties have participated, so those interested should call the county agent in their local AgriLife Extension office to see if the training will be offered.
Crocker said the MWV program welcomes participation from college students, full- or part-time employees, retirees and others. In 2018, program volunteers provided 7,745 hours of service, reaching 44,731 Texans.
“Opportunities to serve through the MWV program include giving presentations to local community groups, implementing worksite wellness programs, assisting with healthy cooking demonstrations, participating in health fairs and much more,” he said. “Because each community is different, volunteers will work with AgriLife Extension county agents and other stakeholders to identify needs and opportunities to help make a difference in their community.”
Crocker also noted as volunteers frequently come from diverse backgrounds, they are often able to identify novel topics, audiences and resources in their respective areas.
For more information on MWV training, contact Crocker at 806-677-5600 or firstname.lastname@example.org.